Driftwood Players

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" Sept. - Oct. 2001

Book, Music & Lyrics by Clark M. Gesner, Directed by Brad Duffy

Standing From Left: Tom Kuester: (Snoopy) Patty Sundstrom: (Lucy Van Pelt) Amanda O'Carolan: (Sally Brown) Bob Charlton: (Charlie Brown) Jim Watters: (Schroeder)
On Floor: Keith Krueger: (Linus Van Pelt)
From Left: Bob Neisinger: (Music Director / Percussion) Kari Hasbrouck: (Keyboard) Roberta Cleland: (Piano) Kathy Laukhart: (Flute & Bass) Sherry Hulscher: (Violin / Viola)


Pictures by
Jones Photo Co.

From The Daily World Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2001

More 'good' than 'grief' with Driftwood's 'Charlie Brown'

By Jeff Burlingame
Daily World Entertainment Editor

    Good grief.

    Not only is it the lead character's most famous saying, it's a highly accurate description of the Driftwood Players' presentation of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," which opened off Broadway Saturday at the Aberdeen playhouse.

    The "good" comes early and often in Clark Gesner's adaptation of Charles Schulz's popular "Peanuts" comic strip.

    From Charlie Brown's opening soliloquy to the ensemble's closing song, director Brad Duffy's interpretation of the musical left smiles on the faces of both young and old - a real tonic for the times.

    The play centers around the life of Charlie Brown, the depressed and hapless lad who can't kick a football, hit a baseball or throw a strike. But Charlie can be a crowd-favorite, and actor Bob Charlton makes him one from the get-go.

    With his whiny voice, baggy shorts and striped T-shirt, Charlton's hunched-shoulder portrayal endears him to the crowd and sets a high standard for the rest of the cast to follow.

    When Lucy (Patty Sundstrom) and Schroeder (Jim Watters) hit the stage for the second scene, it's obvious the veteran crew is well-prepared to meet the challenge. Sundstrom's voice, by far the best of the night, and Watters' "piano-syncing" and child-like facial expressions only add to the whimsy.

    Prior to the performance, some were questioning how well adults could play the roles of children. Any lingering doubts are answered in the fourth scene when blanket-toting Linus takes the stage.

    Driftwood veteran Keith Krueger - who looks like a cross between Jack Nicholson and comedian Colin Mochrie - leaves the crowd laughing during his time alone on stage. Sucking his thumb while dancing, singing and twirling his baby-blue security blanket, Krueger is an immediate hit.

    Amanda O'Carolan, who plays Sally Brown, does a great job. Pictured in the program as a brunette, O'Carolan appeared on stage with a full head of golden-blond locks - complete with airhead persona.

    No "Peanuts" play would be complete without an appearance by the wonder-beagle, Snoopy.

    Played here by Tom Kuester, the melodramatic dog nearly steals the second act with his vaudeville rendition of the song "Suppertime."

    Duffy's interpretation of the play features simple but highly effective sets and props. An oversized doghouse for Snoopy and a wooden, yellow school bus that seats five are among the eye-catching highlights of set-making.

    While the quality of the cast's singing isn't going to make Pavarotti break out in cold sweats, all were adequate. And since they were singing like children, who cares? The live mini-orchestra, guided by one of Grays Harbor's finest musicians, Bob Neisinger, helps overcome any vocal shortfalls.

    The play's "grief" is relegated to two items: There's no food available at intermission and there were a few empty seats.

    At the next performance, there shouldn't be.  

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